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Characterization of Relevant Bovine Dander Allergen Components

Airaksinen L1, Suojalehto H1, Lindström I1, Sund J1, Pallasaho P1,2, Puustinen A1,3

1Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
2Western Uusimaa Wellbeing Services County, Western Uusimaa, Finland
3Helsinki University, Helsinki, Finland

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2024; Vol 34(1) : 20-29
doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0863

Background: Diagnostic tests in occupational allergic diseases are highly dependent on the quality of available allergen extracts and specific IgE tests. To enhance diagnostic testing in cattle-related occupational rhinitis, asthma, and urticaria, we produced an in- house cow dander extract, assessed its allergen profile and performance in clinical tests, and compared it with commercial bovine dander extracts. 
Methods: One hundred patients with a suspected cattle-related occupational disease underwent skin prick tests (SPTs) with in-house and 1 or 2 commercial bovine dander extracts. Nasal allergen provocation tests were performed on 31 patients with suspected occupational rhinitis. We used Western blot to study the specific IgE-protein reactions from the sera of the patients with positive provocation test results and identified allergens from immunoblot bands using tandem mass spectrometry.
Results: The odorant-binding protein Bos d OBP, bovine serum albumin (Bos d 6), and the lipocalin (Bos d 2) were identified as the major allergens. We found a total of 24 bovine dander allergens, of which several were formerly unknown. The sensitivity and specificity of the in-house extract in SPTs were 100% and 94%, respectively, in 87 patients. The SPT results were negative in 20 healthy controls. Nasal allergen provocation tests with in-house extract detected occupational rhinitis with 100% sensitivity in 21 patients. The provocation results remained negative in 5 healthy controls. 
Conclusions: Three major and several minor allergens in bovine dander caused occupational rhinitis. Diagnosis of bovine allergen–related occupational diseases requires a sufficient concentration and variety of tested allergens.

Key words: Cattle farmer, Rhinitis, Asthma, Cow, Allergy, Occupational disease, Cattle farming, Sensitization, Skin prick test